Staying on track during the summer months can be simple. The key is to keep up the good reading habits from the school year, with a nod towards summer fun. Here are nine ways to help prevent the dreaded summer slide:
Look for words everywhere you go.
Wherever you go, you can always find something new to read – from cereal boxes to street signs and subways ads – words are everywhere. Make it a fun game for you and your child to find new words out in the world; this is an excellent way to practice their skills and expand their vocabulary.
Sign up for a library card.
Take your kids for a regular visit to stock up on books. If your child is curious about a particular topic, like dinosaurs, volcanos, or puppies, the library helps satiate their ever-changing interests. Many libraries also have free summer reading programs that you can sign up for and follow along.
Preserve the bedtime story.
As the sun sets later in the evening, it may be tempting to let your kids stay up late and then forgo storytime because of the clock. Instead, plan to include storytime in fun ways. Who says you can’t read bedtime stories snuggled up on the patio or around a campfire?!
Go on an excursion.
There are so many things happening when the weather is warm! Watch outdoor plays in a local park, visit the zoo, go to music festivals and expose your kids to something new. Good readers draw on their background knowledge of a subject and personal experiences to help them make meaning of what they are reading. The more a child knows about the world, the more easily they’ll be able to navigate the concepts found while reading.
Set a summer reading goal.
Summertime is the perfect time to make sure reading feels fun! Perhaps you’ll read aloud a book series, stock up on comic books, or read joke books. Whatever the genre, if you keep track of all the texts you read together, your child will have a list which makes them feel proud when school begins again. You may even choose to celebrate your accomplishments with a reward or a book-themed party!
Be a reading role model.
It may seem obvious, but the best way to prevent the summer slide is to read every day-you and your kids! Let your children see the pleasure that reading brings to your life by enjoying books, magazines, and newspapers.
Read in the car.
Summertime often means lots of road trips. Together with your child, create a bag of books to keep in the car. Choose some they can read on their own, or ones that they can retell themselves because they’ve memorized the story from multiple readings. Be sure to include magazines and comics, too – they encourage a different set of skills and provide lots of visual heavy content which is perfect for non-readers.
Keep books around your home.
Get books off your bookshelves and spread them around your home with the covers facing outwards. Children, especially ones who aren’t yet reading independently, use the covers to gauge their interest. Try to switch the books regularly and choose ones that are on topics they are interested in. A bin of books on the dining room table helps hungry kids practice patience while waiting for their meals. Use the covers to gauge children’s interest, especially for those who aren’t yet reading independently.
Read with a screen.
Reading with tablets and smartphones are fun ways to enjoy a story for kids who love using tech. On Ooka Island, children can read up to 85 carefully leveled eBooks with support or alone. Some public libraries provide free online access to popular children’s books that are read aloud by the author. Ask your local librarian if this resource is available to your community.